Chip Kelly won’t be coaching in Jacksonville anytime soon.
The Jaguars on Wednesday named Nathaniel Hackett as their offensive coordinator, making his position a permanent role after he served as the interim play-caller for the latter part of the 2016 season.
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The 37-year-old Hackett worked as the team’s quarterbacks coach last season and for the first seven games of this year’s campaign before taking over for the fired Greg Olson after a Week 8 loss to the Titans.
Hackett’s handiwork was enough to convince new head coach Doug Marrone that the in-house option was preferable to Kelly, who interviewed for the position this week.
“We are excited to announce Nathaniel Hackett as our offensive coordinator and he will immediately be tasked with installing and implementing our offense this offseason,” Marrone said in a statement. “I have had the pleasure of working with Nathaniel for seven consecutive seasons and know firsthand how knowledgeable and passionate he is about winning.”
Hackett, of course, followed Marrone from Syracuse University to the Buffalo Bills before joining the Jaguars in 2015.
The trick in Jacksonville boils down to turning quarterback Blake Bortles into a reliably functional starter. Fans saw progress in the signal-caller over Marrone’s two-week coaching stint to close the season, but Bortles was a white-hot mess for much of the year.
“Thursday’s 10 a.m. press conference is scheduled to begin at 9:55 a.m.”
That’s right. Tom Coughlin time.
Coughlin, officially named the team’s executive vice president of football operations, is bringing his penchant for being five minutes early all the way from Northern New Jersey, where he tortured hundreds of perpetually late Giants players over the last decade with clocks in the team’s facility that were universally wound back. When Coughlin’s eventual successor, Ben McAdoo, first arrived in East Rutherford as an offensive coordinator in 2015, Coughlin warned him not to (mess) with the clocks.
I profiled Coughlin back in 2013 for The Star-Ledger and got to look at his daily schedule. If the Jaguars believed at all that they were in need of discipline, than hiring a man who budgets time for “snack” and “coffee and walk around the locker room” should patch up any cracks in the foundation quickly.
Coughlin’s second stint in Jacksonville will be nothing short of fascinating. His reputation teetered on dictatorial during his head coaching stint with the Jaguars. He was eventually forced to soften his stance with players and coaches in New York, though that took a few years as well.
Coughlin, who last coached with the Giants in 2015 — winning two Super Bowls with Jacksonville Jaguars jersey in New York — got his first NFL head-coaching opportunity in Jacksonville, where he amassed a 128-68 regular-season record over eight seasons.
The Jaguars were clearly intrigued by Coughlin, with Caldwell telling reporters last month: “Tom Coughlin is someone we’d be interested in talking to. … He’s got so much experience on myself or any coach we have in this building and he’s a great individual, and I think you can always learn from people.”
On Monday, Rapoport told NFL Network that the Jaguars “do really think they got it right here” in adding Coughlin, who spent the past year with China NFL jerseys in the league office after logging 27 seasons of NFL coaching experience.
“Coughlin interviewed as a head coach. That is what he wanted to do,” Rapoport explained. “He was very clear. He did not want to come in as an executive, he wanted to be the man on the sidelines. And then they decided to hire Doug Marrone and … Coughlin reversed course a little bit and decided to come on as an executive.”
As for the power structure, which has yet to be officially announced, Rapoport said it “sounds like” Caldwell will still pick the players, “just given Coughlin’s title and given … Caldwell’s role in the situation.”
Asked if Coughlin was ever seriously considered for the role of head coach, Rapoport said: “My impression was — they did not. I never got the sense from the people I was speaking with that he was really a legitimate head-coaching candidate. What I did get the sense of was that they had a lot of respect for his wholesale jerseys. They wanted to meet with him.”
The upshot in Jacksonville? They interviewed two men for one job and wound up hiring both in roles that will ask a handful of strong-willed people to coexist.
Whether this will work is anyone’s guess.